Vol. 11 (2004)

A Call to Action: Will French Survive This Time in the School Curriculum in Trinidad and Tobago?

Beverly-Anne Carter
The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine


  • Foreign Language Education,
  • Language Policy,
  • French,
  • Trinidad and Tobago


This paper examines the interface between language planning and French language teaching/learning in Trinidad and Tobago. It does not revisit the larger policy issues on the role and status of French (see, for example, Carter, 2000 and Carter, 2001 for such discussions), but focuses instead on how a bottom-up approach to language planning is critical to ensuring the viability of French in the school curriculum. Mindful of Stern's (1983) contention that, "the planning process ... includes constant renewal and revision" (p. 431), this paper argues that a bottom-up approach to language planning is more likely to contribute to a focus on renewal and revision, than has been possible to date with a top-down approach. In this regard, the paper offers some suggestions to French language teachers - an important group of stakeholders - since they can play a significant role in fighting attrition in French language learning. In conclusion, this paper suggests that while subject specialists must act as catalysts for renewal and revision, language policy and planning would be better served by a more comprehensive approach, including all teachers of language. Such a holistic approach would see educators recognizing the interconnectedness of their task, and ensuring that language planning is geared to nurturing the multilingual communicator of the future in today's classrooms.